Why Business Executives Need to Stop Managing Employees and Start Leading Them

by Ruth D Schwartz

People don’t want to be managed, they want to be led. In spite of this fact, most business executives focus on managing employees rather than leading them. Whoever heard of a world manager? World leader, yes! Educational leader, political leader, religious leader, community leader, and business leader-these are terms that make us think of people who make a difference. If you want to transform your business consider making the shift from manager to leader.

What is the difference between managers and leaders?

When you think of a manager, what words come to mind? How about managed work flow, measured results, performance evaluation, problem solving, decision making, meeting planning, training, hiring, firing, reporting, efficiencies, organization, and resource procurement? Not very exciting is it?

What comes to mind when you think about the leaders you’ve worked with? Do inspirational, motivational, coaching, resource sharing, visionary, principled, information gatherers, communicators, forecasters, and strategists create a vision in your mind of someone who serves as a role model rather than someone who takes care of day-to-day crises and conflicts? When asked, managers say they value the quality of the leader over the manager. Given a choice, managers would rather lead than manage.

Why make the shift from manager to leader?

The idea of leadership touches us and reflects our deepest desire to be the best we can be. Leaders want to rise above the turmoil. They want to inspire and motivate. Most executives and managers say they are mired in workflow maintenance and overseeing toxic teams that don’t work. They want to lead, but don’t know how to get beyond maintaining the status quo. Instead of initiating change, developing people, and creating long-term strategies, they are stuck in a repetitive pattern.

Qualities of a good leader.

Becoming a good leader takes time, but the first step is knowing what traits and qualities good leaders possess. According to research conducted by author Roger Allen (The Hero’s Choice: Living from the inside out 2009), “leaders have a clear and compelling vision, the power to communicate that clear and compelling vision and the ability to rally people behind that clear and compelling vision.” If we want to be around leaders, then why do most of us tend to have the training and reinforcement for practicing management rather than leadership? The simple answer-a good leader also has the skills required to be a good manager, but also knows how to make a shift from the practice of managing to the art of leadership.

Steps to Leadership.

The transition from management to leadership takes time and practice, but it can be achieved through education, an understanding of the desired outcome, and the ability to follow three key steps:

• Balance Your Roles. A good leader has the ability to leave the technical work and the management of it exclusively to the team and at the same time give everyone an opportunity to develop both management and leadership skills.

• Get the Big Picture. The greatest value a leader can add is to focus more on the team than on the work. In other words, observe from the outside rather than get caught up in the day-to-day bustle.

• Make Your Team Your product. Your product as a leader is the team. It’s your job to make other people successful.

About the author

Find out about the book, The Key to the Golden Handcuffs, at http://www.highperformanceadvocates.com

Ruth Schwartz started Mordam Records in 1983. By the time Nirvana hit the pop charts and Green Day went platinum, Schwartz was running a ten million-dollar company. In 2012 Schwartz chronicles her success in The Key to the Golden Handcuff’s – Stop Being a Slave to Your Business. Based on Schwartz’ business experience, the book gives entrepreneurs and business executives insight into shifts that can be made to create a transparent, open-book company. Today, Schwartz in an internationally certified business coach, motivational speaker, and the facilitator of business peer advisory boards. She owns High Performance Advocates, a management development and marketing company.